Richer Than the Ants

The anguish in mother’s eyes still haunts me.
It was a miracle, her making food
stretch so far. We were
a humming brood; her smile
hid more than we’ll ever know.

Childhood was a whirlwind of hand-me-downs, government
cheese, bread, powdered milk and
whispered ridicule

from chubbier faces, wearing brighter colors,
that never appreciated tire swings
hung from trees or a jar of lightning bugs
that commanded stares from
wishful young minds.

We didn’t mind circumnavigating
my father’s beer can gauntlet some mornings, knowing
our apron clad savior with Doris Day
countenance, was waiting for us
in the kitchen.

A Whisper in The Womb

I first heard it as a whisper
in the womb

the spirit that followed
Creator’s voice at greater than
the speed of light when,
He spoke the universe
into existence.

There is no sheltering sky, no magical parlance,
no tubular bells, groaning chants or
ringing bowls that will save us, just His voice,
soft as spring’s yawn.

I caught it as a child midst summer Cicada’s cry,
in the silence after my mother’s tears, in the background
of my own stumbling through life, it was direction
murmured from the wilderness as I walked a
narrow path to eventually face eternal winds and
I took a deep breath.

He came in flesh, walked roads, cried,
suffered, bled, died to atone
and ascended. Creator became man, His Spirit is
the ageless echo beckoning through storms, rage of war,
to the drunkard cursing, to the haughty rich
who cannot buy another
day of life.

I Warn You, Tarry Not Here, Friend

I once sank into fitful sleep
And into shadowed realm did creep,
Perhaps it was the absinthe blend.
I warn you, tarry not here, friend.
From darkness there came hiss and moans,
Macabre sound of breaking bones,
To a foul place I did descend.
I warn you, tarry not here, friend.

I felt the tendrilled touch of wraith!
Who ruled this land of pain and skaith,
I sensed my heart they sought to rend.
I warn you, tarry not here, friend.
And through dim landscape I did run!
As reasoning in chaos spun,
‘twas, Hell I knew this did portend;
I warn you, tarry not here, friend.

And the Radio Played On

In my nail-bitten teen years I
was the proverbial fly tangled in
many a web

I know I ground several layers of enamel
from my teeth, which tastes of; heart’s iron and
soul’s amalgam

those rainy Saturday nights mocked me, waiting,
trying to picture wantonness in her eyes

in any lover’s eyes

my mother used to shake her head at me slowly
not in a mocking way, but more like, ‘my son, my son,
reel-in your heart, and let it
mend.’

The house was my detention, a monk’s
forced vow of silence, a lustful fast, a
muted radio singalong
with one hand on the phone and
the other, writing her name
on a breath-fogged
window.

A Perceived Prison

Veiled, though sunlight pervades
to dance in eking, dusted
paisley patterns

some withdraw, in anguish
like
a vampire
they
cringe

there is a drought within

their soul, is
a stretch of desert road
nearly erased

depression can be
four walls with cloth shutters
that might as well be
granite ramparts

Card Tricks

The dearth of joy is;
black as licorice drool, spittoon
gloom

a bastard spirit retching in
burnt shadows,
stop-motion dancing,
macabre flailing

failing, the curdled, wrung soul crawls
like a stone across crackled ground, prostrate
before obscure magicians,
peering-up with
one eye
at the Devil’s
sleight-of-hand.

A Drunken Old German Who Liked to Sing Songs

Grandpa liked his Pall-Mall straights
ripped in half, stuck one half
in his shirt pocket, smoked the other
down to a roach, with leather-
tough fingers

a second-generation German from
Minnesota, transplanted
to Iowa

had a house painting business,
barked orders at hired help, then
left them unsupervised
most of the day while he drank
at the tavern

he always came back smelling
of cheap beer and pickled eggs, yelling
with that strangled, raspy throat bellow,
“Jesus-Christ, I thought you fellas would’ve
had this shit wrapped up by now!”

He’d then smoke a Pall-Mall shorty,
grumble to himself and
blow his nose like
a farmer

when he drank Mad Dog,
only at home, he waxed philosophical
asking me, “Boy, do you know why you should
stay away from red-heads?”

I knew the answer, heard it
a hundred times
but entertained him anyway,
“Why grandpa?”

“Cuz they’ll give ya the shits and
steal yer soul!”

He always laughed like a drunken pirate
after, until he coughed, spitting
on newspapers laid-out
on the floor.

Oracle

Wine of muses bleeds from my veins,
past dry palate
to intoxicate my soul lest
I spasm in grief

atop diamond sarsens I’ve been
at the shores of Heaven
where seraphim tilt winsome heads
captivated

I have crawled in Hell’s wasteland
on bloodied hands and knees,
silent, biting my lip till
warm, copper taste
sickened

I am a sower of cryptic messages
filtered through dreamt desires, screaming in the night
or splayed in crackled crevices like
abandoned spider webs
in fallowed forest.

Fingers channel something ancient, drawn in dust,
once illuminated by fires, embers drift
to the stars with reverence.

To Till and reap: a writer’s dilemma

Fallowness must taunt
as withered wraiths scratch at your door
hungrily moaning
as blown dust
slips through cracks

until prayer for light and restorative rain
pervades, figuratively
hands must get dirty as
surreal seeds
are sown
from grittiness of character,
somewhere beneath
calloused fingers, ragged cuticles
suffuse an ancient
chelation.

Presentiment: I once saw myself very old

I stared out of a half-steamed window
watching ravens swoop and dart
through chimney smoke, at play, tag it must have been
as gangly winter shadows crept across
wind-hardened snow

the eaves whistled, icicles were bent into
translucent catawampus claws

my left thumb trembled, right index finger
as well, as I repositioned hands on the
armrests of my wheelchair
and sighed.

A grainy, rather faded heyday film played
in my mind, I smiled at the rosy-cheeked boy
in a tire swing, kicking his feet into
an aqua-blue summer sky, hardly
earth-bound

then, the movie reel fast-forwarded to,
heart-pounding, sick-in-love days of sweet and sour tears,
recited poetic jumbles of words, sometimes
kicked into the street like
an empty can

but the love, gilded in frames, mantel presentable
memories, have always been there
for you, my dear

scent of your hair, those brown irises
opened wide after we kissed, like
desert flower blooms at midnight in awe
of the universe, and that
shuddered sigh; will be my
very last thoughts
before I pass.

Death Is Not the Worst

It’s one hundred twenty degrees
in the mind of a lunatic, no shade,
no occasional breeze, only
beads of sweat pouring
down foreheads, stinging
mind’s-eye, I hear yelling in the night;
detritus words launched
at God.

Panhandled change is counted, over and over
at the bus stop, rapid-fire blinks
too numerous to count
must stir-up mini vortexes
in another dimension,
a meth mother huddled in a doorway
brushes her daughter’s silky hair;
mother tweaks to her
own tune.

Outward beauty is only skin-deep
just as winter ice can hide dead fish and
worse jetsam beneath an urban pond,
a needle in a haystack has become
a stack of bloody syringes,
no play on words there, just a dirty
ditty sung in most any
modern city, heroin zombies lurk
behind dumpsters, everyone wears their
holier-than-thou blinders.

I see it all, thirty-somethings screaming in the streets,
fighting themselves more than anyone else.
There will be blackeyes and
pounding headaches in the morning,
mascara will run like soul shattering fault-lines.
It’ll all repeat next Saturday night
as Satan picks his teeth
and laughs.

Sacred Lotus

161

 

Virgin soft flesh splayed
on a translucent jade pond
your sage wisdom roars